Business efficiency projects deliver record savings for Scottish manufacturers

Scottish manufacturing firms have achieved a record £21 million of business efficiency savings in the last year, the Finance Secretary John Swinney confirmed today.

The new figures show that during 2012/13, manufacturing companies in Scotland completed 184 business improvement projects – 23 less than the previous year – but still achieved £21.1 million of value added benefits to Scotland’s economy.

These results, released by Scottish Enterprise, show companies are spending more time and money on higher impact projects which result in far more significant benefits for the company and the economy.

The Finance Secretary today welcomed these record savings during a visit to Plexus – a Scottish company which has benefited from SMAS support. The Finance Secretary officially opened the firm’s new design and manufacturing facility in Bathgate.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government is committed to building sustainable economic growth and our four Enterprise Areas are a key part of our strategy.

“The record savings that businesses have made during 2012/13 is down to the hard work from them but also the team at SMAS. The £21million of savings shows the delivery of more high value, transformational projects which has helped improve production techniques, reduce costs and boost their competitiveness.

“Since it was set up in 2006, SMAS has delivered 870 business improvement projects contributing over £110 million of value added benefits to Scotland’s economy.

“SMAS support is a driver for growth and a platform for higher value support such as exporting, account management, supply chain development and investment.

“Supporting businesses now and in the future to be more competitive will mean Scottish companies have the best chance of success.”

Scottish Enterprise has worked intensively with Plexus since 2003, through its account management portfolio, to support its growth ambitions. During that time, the company has benefited from training and development, Regional Selective Assistance and Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) support.

Nick Shields, director of Scottish Enterprise’s SMAS team said “In the last year we’ve seen a big shift from companies investing in ‘fix it’ type projects to cultural changing, transformational projects which embed continuous improvement at the heart of everything they do.

“Encouraging and supporting these types of projects is not only key to driving growth in Scotland’s manufacturing sector, but provides a platform for companies to access higher value support such as exporting, innovation and account management.”

The food & drink and energy/engineering sectors delivered the biggest bulk of projects during 2012/13 – 75 in total – whilst the food & drink and chemical sciences sectors delivered the most value add – £4.1 million and £3.1 million respectively.

Geographically, Fife, Renfrewshire and Falkirk achieved the most in value added benefits (£3.8m, £2.2 m and £1.7 m respectively) while Glasgow City, Fife and Aberdeen City and Shire completed the biggest proportion of projects – 47 in total.

Nick added “I can’t stress enough the importance of investing in business efficiency. By considering the impacts of sustainability, resource efficiency, waste management and energy efficiency, companies can improve production techniques, reduce their costs, enable innovation and increase their internationalisation activities.

“It’s these improvements which will increase productivity, boost competitiveness and help develop new products and/or processes which will help to open up new markets both at home and overseas.”

Building on last year’s success, SMAS, Scottish Enterprise’s manufacturing arm, continues to support ambitious Scottish manufacturing companies to achieve over £20 million of value added benefits through business efficiency projects during 2013/14.

To find out more on how Scottish Enterprise and SMAS can help your company become more business efficient, sign up for our free awareness raising events at

Notes to editors

About Scotland manufacturing sector

  • In 2012, Scotland was home to [1]8,420 manufacturing companies - 5% more than in 2011 – of which 93% were Scottish owned. Together these companies had a turnover of £42.9 billion and employed 179,640 people.
  • In 2010, [2]manufacturing output (GVA) amounted to £12.4 billion. Of this, the beverages industry at £2.4 billion (19.5%) chemicals at £1.7 billion (13.5%) and food products industry at £1.2 billion (9.6%). Together these three industries accounted for 42.6% of total manufacturing GVA.
  • [3]Scottish Manufactured export sales fell by 1.4 per cent in real terms during Q4 of 2012 compared to the previous quarter and fell 2.9 per cent year on year. Manufacturing accounts for [4]62% of Scotland’s total international exports.
  • [5]Business Enterprise Research and Development (BERD) expenditure in Scotland is dominated by the Manufacturing sector (£452 million, 65.5%). Between 2010 and 2011, expenditure on R&D in Manufacturing increased by 4.1% (£18 million) in real terms.

Contact Information

Julia McLaren

Engagement Partner

Scottish Enterprise

0300 013 3223

07801 794046